Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Beef Lombardi

"But I thought I met your whole family?" That was what Chris said when he saw what was for dinner tonight (I post the week's menu on Saturday).  My maiden name was Lombardi, no relation to Vince. So when I saw this recipe on I did a double take. And of course I had to try it. Delicious is the best way to describe dinner. What is not to like - meat, cheddar and mozzarella cheese and the tomatoes with chiles added a nice kick to the dish. And noodles and sour cream added a whole extra layer of goodness.
The recipe called for the noodles to be mixed with the sour cream and scallions. I thought there was too much sour cream for the noodles so I mixed in the meat and baked it all together. So good...

This recipe made enough for tonight's dinner and a dish that went into the freezer.

Ingredients -
1 pound lean ground beef
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can chopped tomatoes
1 (10-ounce) can diced tomatoes and green chiles
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
1 bay leaf
1 (6-ounce) package medium egg noodles
6 green onions, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
1 cup sour cream
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded mozzarella cheese
Garnish: fresh parsley sprigs

Method -
Cook ground beef in a large skillet over medium heat 5 to 6 minutes, stirring until it crumbles and is no longer pink. Drain.
Stir in chopped tomatoes and next 4 ingredients; cook 5 minutes. Add tomato paste and bay leaf, and simmer 30 minutes.
Cook egg noodles according to package directions; drain.
Stir together cooked egg noodles, chopped green onions, and sour cream until blended.
Place noodle mixture in bottom of a lightly greased 13- x 9-inch baking dish. Top with beef mixture; sprinkle evenly with cheeses.
Bake, covered with aluminum foil, at 350° for 35 minutes. Uncover casserole, and bake 5 more minutes. Garnish, if desired.

Note: Freeze casserole up to 1 month, if desired. Thaw in refrigerator overnight. Bake as directed.

This recipe appeared in Southern Living Ocotber 2003

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Chicken and Dumplings

Doesn't the name of tonight's dinner just sound comfortable? Chicken and Dumplings. I found this recipe on I prepared this on Sunday and tonight when I got home I made the dumplings. I have never made dumplings that were this light. We both had 2 helpings. And I am very glad I have leftovers for lunch!

3  tablespoons  unsalted butter
2  carrots, halved lengthwise and cut crosswise into 1-inch pieces
1  stalk celery, cut into 1-inch pieces
1  leek (white and light green parts), halved lengthwise and sliced crosswise
1 1/2  cups  all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled
6  cups  low-sodium chicken broth
1/2  cup  dry white wine
kosher salt and black pepper
1  rotisserie chicken (2 1/2 to 3 pounds), meat shredded
1/4  teaspoon  baking soda
1/2  cup  sour cream
1  large egg, beaten
2  tablespoons  chopped fresh dill

Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the carrots, celery, and leek and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, 6 to 8 minutes.

Sprinkle with ½ cup of the flour and cook, stirring, for 1 minute (do not let it darken).

Stir in the broth, wine, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper and bring to a boil. Add the chicken and reduce to a simmer.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together the remaining 1 cup of flour, baking soda, and ¼ teaspoon salt. Stir in the sour cream and egg.

Drop full tablespoons of the dough into the stew and cook, covered, until the
Sprinkle the soup with the dill before serving.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Simple Beef Short Ribs

Not bad for a Monday. I made this recipe yesterday,  Simple Beef Short Ribs, so tonight I popped it in the oven to reheat. I made Aborio rice as a side dish. I found the recipe for the ribs on

1 pound beef short ribs
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 onion, sliced
1 clove garlic
1 (12 fluid ounce) can or bottle stout beer
1 cup beef stock

Season the short ribs with salt and pepper, then dredge in flour until coated. Shake off the excess flour.

Heat the olive oil and butter in a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Cook the ribs until browned on each side, about 5 minutes per side. Remove from the skillet and set aside. Add the onion and garlic to the skillet; cook and stir until onion is tender, about 5 minutes. Return the ribs to the skillet and pour in the beer. Stir, scraping the bottom of the pan, until all of the browned bits have mixed in with the liquid. Pour in the beef stock, cover and simmer over low heat until very tender, about 2 hours.

Oh did I mention that this was delicious?

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Sausage, Escarole and Beans and...

Let's start off with Small Sour Cream Coffee Cake For Two Recipe. I found this recipe on What's Cooking Italian Style Cuisine. I had extra sour cream in the fridge so I made this when I got up and we had it with breakfast. Nice way to start the day.

While I was in a baking mood I had found the recipe for White Chocolate Cherry & Pistachio Cookies on the blog A Bachelor and His Grill. He had a challenge at the end of the post to try to eat only one of these cookies. Forget it. Don't even attempt it. Why put yourself through the stress. You will eat more than one of these cookies. Heck you might even have three of these. Yes they are that good.

Yes this is a blog about dinner. Dinner was Sausage, Escarole and Beans. One of my favorites. Perfect for a cold Sunday night.

Ingredients -
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound Italian sausage
2 small onions, cut into wedges
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 19-ounce can white beans, drained and rinsed
1 small head escarole, tough stems removed and roughly chopped
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/2 cup grated Parmesan

Method -
Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.
Cook the sausage, turning occasionally, until browned and cooked through, about 10 minutes.
Transfer to a cutting board and let rest at least 5 minutes before slicing.
Add onions to the pan and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 6 minutes.
Add the wine and broth and bring to a boil. Add the beans, escarole, salt, and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until the escarole wilts, 3 minutes.
Spoon into bowls and top with the Parmesan. Serve with the sausage and bread.

Did you notice that bread on the side of the dish. Well that is a Cheese Bread. The recipe is from My Bread: The Revolutionary No Knead Bread Method by Jim Lahey. A perfect addition to tonight's dinner.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Quick Beef Stroganoff

Today I was at my Dad's house cleaning out stuff with my brother and sister. I was planning on coming home and making a quick and easy Chicken Piccata. I had Rice Balls in the freezer and I picked up a head of cauliflower to roast.

I popped the cauliflower in the oven after tossing it with olive oil, salt, pepper, crushed red pepper and thyme. I roasted it at 400 degrees for 20 minutes, stirred it and added bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese. It roasted for another 10 minutes. As for the rice balls I made a quick tomato sauce for dipping.

Now we come to the part of the prep where I start the chicken. I get all my ingredients out and get the pan ready. I unwrap the meat and I find stew meat. Crap. I am really annoyed and wondering what the heck I was going to make for dinner!!!

I plan my meals a week in advance. That way there is only one trip to the store. I looked in the fridge and the only other "quick" meal that I had on hand, other than frozen ravioli, was Quick Beef Stroganoff. Well not on hand but all the ingredients were there and I could put it together quickly.
So it really was a Quick Beef Stroganoff! Chris took care of the noodles and I pulled everything else together. And it was really good! A few extra dishes to wash but other than that it was great.

We ended up having the rice balls as an appetizer while we prepared dinner. And the cauliflower was still the vegetable. And I noticed someone seemed to be enjoying them!

Funny how things work out. And I guess we will be having  - SPOILER ALERT - Chicken Piccata on Friday night!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Creamy Fettuccine with Leeks and Bacon

 The new Bon Appetit is here! And it is the pasta issue. Tonight I made Creamy Fettuccine with Leeks and Bacon. Amazing. It was so creamy I can't believe I only had one large serving... and a smaller 2nd serving! Okay I could have had a third but I stopped myself. The noodles were homemade, only making this even more delicious!

Ingredients -
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
4 slices thick-cut bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 medium leeks, white and pale-green parts only, halved lengthwise, sliced crosswise
Kosher salt
3/4 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
1 pound fettuccine
1 cup finely grated Parmesan

Method -
Heat oil and butter in a large heavy pot over medium heat. Add bacon and cook, stirring often, until fat is rendered and bacon is crisp, 5-8 minutes. Add leeks and season with salt. Increase heat to medium-high and cook, stirring often, until leeks begin to brown, 5-8 minutes. Add cream, thyme, and 1/2 cup water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until sauce is thickened and coats the back of a spoon, 5-8 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until al dente.

Add pasta, Parmesan, and 1 cup pasta cooking liquid to sauce and stir to coat. Increase heat to medium and continue stirring, adding more cooking liquid as needed, until sauce coats pasta.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

If It's Wednesday...

Okay we didn't have Prince Spaghetti but it is Wednesday and we had Pasta with Meat Sauce. Remember this commercial -
The sauce tonight tasted even better that usual. Okay it was 10 degrees out so maybe any hot meal would have tasted as good. But the sauce had short ribs, meatballs and sausage. I am typing this at 10pm and I am considering getting up to finish off the little bit that was left...

Monday, January 21, 2013

Roast Beef, Roasted Peppers and Onions and Cheddar Cheese Paninis

Yum! Yum! Yum! I love dinners that include potato chips.
This dinner came about as a result of having one pepper left over that did not go into last night's dinner. I roasted it along with an onion after tossing it with olive oil, salt and pepper.
The Roast Beef, Cheddar Cheese, the pepper and onion and some Dijon Mustard and Horseradish. Grilled on the Panini Grill. Some chips and even a couple of pickles!

Happy Monday!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Pollo alla Cacciatore

Pollo alla Cacciatore, Hunter-Style Chicken, is a dish that I have not made in quite some time. The recipe is from La Cucina: Regional Cooking of Italy. It is from the Emilia-Romagna region. I love making this recipe. The house smells so good. I am sure it has to do with the wine.

To go along with the chicken I made creamy polenta. I use the instant polenta and just added some Mascapone cheese in a the end.

And of course you do need Italian bread with this!

Pollo alla Cacciatore, Hunter-Style Chicken

2 tbsp. unsalted butter
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 young chicken, cut in pieces (I just went to the butcher's counter and did not ask the age of the chicken)
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 lb. plum tomatoes, peeled and chopped (I used a can of crushed tomatoes)
1 green or yellow sweet pepper; cleaned of seeds ad chopped (I used red pepper, personal preference and they were on sale!)
Salt and pepper

Heat the butter and olive oil in a pan and add the onion. When it is golden, add the chicken pieces and let them brown. Pour in the wine, add the tomatoes and peppers, adjust the salt and pepper. Cover and cook at low heat until the chicken is cooked through, about 20 minutes.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

A Funny Little Dinner

Last night I went into the freezer and pulled out 2 little dishes. Awwwww. One was a dish was Shepherds Pie and the other was a dish of Eggplant Parmesan. I made these dishes for my Dad. When I did my cooking on Sundays I always made small portions for him. Sadly I won't need to do that anymore.

The Eggplant was from the batch I made for Christmas Day. My dad would have love it! Actually I did give him some of this the first time I tried the recipe and he did love it.

The Shepherd Pie was frozen without the mashed potatoes on top. I made those this morning before work.

Tomorrow night will be Chinese take out... not sure if there will be photos.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Roasted Sausage, Peppers and Potatoes

And shallots and onions too! I roasted these on Monday. I cut everything up and put it all in a zip lock bag. I add some olive oil, salt, pepper, crushed red pepper and oregano. Mix it up and put it on a baking sheet covered with foil that had been sprayed with Pam (yes we are talking about an easy clean up). Roasted it in 400 degree oven for 20 minutes then stirred it once and roasted for another 20 minutes. Put it all in a baking dish and tonight when Chris got home he added some home made marinara sauce and put it in the oven.

When I got home I sliced Italian bread. We spooned the sausage, pepper, potatoes, onions and shallots over the bread. Sprinkled it with Parmesan cheese. Poured a glass of wine and enjoyed.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Christmas Revisited Part 2

Yeah I scored the whole pan of cupalets my sister brought over for Christmas dinner. 
I still have another bag in the freezer! 
They were just as delicious as on Christmas.

Christmas Revisited

Gotta love those leftovers! I actually think the short ribs tasted better tonight then they did on Christmas. I am pretty sure Chris was enjoying them too! Sides were brown rice and peas, kept it simple today.

So a month ago today we said good bye to my Dad.

And we said hello to Maile.

Happy Monday Everyone!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Campanella with Roasted Eggplant and Ricotta Cheese

Tonight I used the recipe for Ziti alla Norma from Lidia'a Favorite Recipes. Now I have made Pasta with Eggplant sauce before but have heard of adding ricotta. Of course it made a huge improvement in the recipe! Yeah the ricotta added a creaminess to the sauce. But I think the whole dish would have been fine without it. Oh and the pasta choice was easy. I prefer Campanella over Ziti. Cook's choice!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Steak Fajitas

From Real Simple, Steak Fajitas.  This is something we do not usually have. But when I read the recipe I was intrigued. You prepare everything and put it in a zip lock bag (I love zip lock bags) and put it in the freezer. You get home from work, take it out of the freezer and prepare it... frozen! I think even Chris was skeptical about this. But darn it was great for a mid week meal.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Baked Quinoa and Chicken Parmesan

Kind of a crazy day so not a lot of words except one - delicious
Quinoa is a perfect substitute for pasta. 
We both enjoyed this and it was so easy to make.
If you try this you will not be disappointed.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Homemade Cheez-its

Yes the crackers were the star of tonight's dinner. Homemade Cheeze-its. I have been wanting to make crackers for the longest time. We loved these. The freshness of the cracker compared to the store bought kind made not eating the whole batch a challenge.  Now if I could find a recipe for Ritz Crackers...

Oh and the soup was a Chicken Pot Pie Soup... it was a light recipe. Not a winner.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

The Best Pizza I Have Ever Made.

Yes quite the statement. Bold. Perhaps. But it was so good.
How did this amazing pie come together?
Well I had fried eggplant in the freezer that was not used in the Eggplant Parmesan I made for Christmas. I had some Pancetta and Fontina cheese.
The crust was the Jim Lahey recipe, of course. The tomatoes were canned plum tomatoes. I fried up the pancetta and began to assemble the pie. Oiled the pan. Rolled out the crust. Put a little olive oil on top of the crust. Scattered the tomatoes over the oiled crust. Next I added the eggplant, sliced it into stripes first. Next the pancetta followed by the Fontina Cheese, Mozzarella and Parmesan. Sprinkled oregano and a little more olive oil. Into a 425 degree oven for... well until looked done.

  Yeah I think this was a winning combination!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Lidia'a Amazing Meatloaf

From the book Lidia'a Favorite Recipes I found the most amazing meatloaf recipe. Polpettone di Manzo Con Ricotta. The recipe uses ricotta and fresh mozzarella. The bread was suppose to be be a country farm bread but I used the rye bread I made earlier in the week. It held together perfectly. It was delicious. It was suppose to be served with a tomato sauce, which I had in the refrigerator but forgot to heat it up.
Also from  Lidia'a Favorite Recipes I made Swiss Chard Potatoes, Bietola e Patate.
I have never used the stems of the chard before. Oh I feel so wasteful know that I know how they can be used.
You boil the potatoes for 20 minutes. Add the chard stems for another 10 minutes and then add the chard leaves for 5 minutes and drain. Heat olive oil in a skillet and add the chard and potatoes, seasoning them with salt and pepper. Mash the potatoes as they heat up. Add more olive oil and season to taste. (The best thing about this recipe is you can make it in advance up to the step where you add the boiled potatoes and chard to the skillet.)
We both love this side dish but I think the whole meal would have been even better if I had heated up the darn tomato sauce!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Lentils, Sausage, Chard and Barley

Tonight's dinner started as a post on Facebook by Judy Witts Francini, the owner of Cucina Divina. It was a post with a photo of lentil soup with chard and sausage. I was so thrilled because I wanted to make Lentils for New Years Day. Two of Italy's culinary symbols of good luck are the lentil and the pig. Another bonus was that I had every ingredient in the house.

I sauteed onion, carrot and celery. Next I added the sausage and browned that. I added the Swiss chard and after that was wilted I added Chicken broth. After the lentils were cooked they were added to the pot. I was going to add a pasta but I had the pearl barley left over from last night's dinner.

This was a hit. It was so flavorful and seasoned nicely if I do say so myself!

New Years Resolutions... Learn Italian and learn how to make an ebook. And stop eating Christmas cookies for breakfast!